Scanning wrecks and mines – what’s the difference?

Wrecks are subject to natural degradation, therefore creating a digitlal documentation makes sense when it comes to determining degradation rates and preserving cultural heritage. This approach can also be applied to glacial caves have the unique ability to undergo radical changes in shape within just one year, making digital documentation crucial for understanding their processes.

When performing a scan for cartographic purposes or to improve the safety of divers, it is generally assumed that the environment will remain relatively stable over a short period of time. This assumption holds true for most environments, such as caves, where changes in the shape of corridors occur over millions of years due to karst phenomena. However, there is one exception to this rule – glacial caves. These unique caves have the ability to undergo radical changes in shape within just one year. As a result, the motivation for performing digital documentation (scan) in glacial caves is completely different compared to other environments.

By conducting successive scans of glacial caves over specific periods of time and comparing them, scientists gain a better understanding of the processes occurring within these caves. This approach can also be applied to places or objects that are subject to degradation, such as wrecks in our Baltic Sea. It is estimated that there may be several thousand wrecks in this area alone. By preparing 3D documentation of a wreck over several years, researchers can not only determine the rate of its degradation but also contribute to the preservation of our cultural heritage.

One notable example of such an undertaking is ‘The Thistlegorm Project’, which aims to document one of the most famous wrecks in the Red Sea. Through this project, researchers are able to capture the changing state of the wreck over time, providing valuable insights into its decay and helping to ensure its historical significance is preserved for future generations.